Plate No. 85, American Robin – Turdus migratorius
John James Audubon is known for his extensive collection of bird drawings recorded as engraved images in the 1827 book, Birds of America, giving him the recognition as the foremost naturalist at that time in America. When Audubon painted American Robin on location, he was moved to tears when he heard its beautiful song.
William Morris was interested in gardening and botany as a child and gradually turned his passion of nature towards the decorative arts for the interiors of homes and churches. His philosophy was that, amidst the industrial revolution of the time, one should live in natural beauty and have a high regard for craftspeople as artists.
Dignity and Impudence
Edwin Henry Landseer often sat in the grass at his childhood home in London and sketched sheep, rabbits, goats, cows, dogs, and even donkeys. His love for animals and artist talent won him many commissions from Queen Victoria to paint her favorite pets. Dignity and Impudence shows Landseer’s desire to show human traits in dogs.
Born to a Native American mother and Africian father presented Edmonia Wildfire Lewis with many life challenges. Despite this, she received a good education including Oberlin College in Ohio, the first college in the U.S. to admit women and African Americans. Forever Free was inspired in 1863 by Lincoln’s call for the freedom of slaves.
Follow the Leader
Berta Hummel attended the Academy of Applied Arts in Munich, Germany and later, joined the convent and became a nun. Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel created drawings of young German children to raise funds for the convent which later were created as porcelain figures, including Follow the Leader.
The Horse Fair
Rosa Bonheur rose above her absence father and poverty during her childhood to be recognized as an emerging artist in her teens. She had a passion for animals and would sneak into horse fairs and slaughter houses to learn their muscle structure. The Horse Fair is a huge painting depicting unruly horses which won her international fame.
Little Dancer Aged Fourteen
Edgar Degas decided to turn his back to his elite education in literature and law to enroll in art school. His painting interest was in capturing the social scene in Paris which included the ballet. Late in his career, he turned to sculpture where he could “freeze” the dancer’s pose as in Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was given the best education possible including apprentices with a variety of craftsmen. The Mona Lisa was painted in the early 1500s and is the only one of his portraits from that time period to survive. Today, Mona Lisa is known as the most famous 16th century portrait.
Dance at Le Moulin de las Galette
Pierre-Auguste Renoir lived near the Louvre Museum in Paris and hung around with other young artists, including Claude Monet, who together formed the impressionist art movement. Scenes of leisure outdoor activity especially interested Renoir. Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette shows the upbeat atmosphere of a dance garden.
Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
Georges Seurat was intrigued by color theory and learned that small dots of primary colors placed close together on the canvas presented a heightened color. Seurat used the theory of divided color or pointillism in A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.